Why Do Huskies Put Their Paws In Water? 8 Reasons

If you’ve ever noticed your husky digging at its water bowl, you’ll know all about this strange behavior that huskies, in particular, seem to display – but why do huskies put their paws in water, and what does it mean?

The most common reason your husky is putting its paws in water is to cool off in hot weather, but it can also be due to other factors like boredom, or they might prefer to drink from moving water.

Keep reading to learn about eight reasons why huskies put their paws in water and what you should do in each case.

Is It Bad If Huskies Put Their Paws In Water?

Before I get into why huskies put their paws in water, it’s essential to understand whether this is something to be concerned about.

If your husky shows this behavior regularly, it could be something to worry about in rare cases. Most of the time, they will repeat this behavior if it has been reinforced, but sometimes, it can become compulsive, which is obviously not good.

If they only do it when it’s hot outside or if they have noticed their reflection in the water, it’s no big deal. One-off occasions aren’t usually something to worry about, whereas persistent cases can be more challenging.

8 Reasons Why Huskies Put Their Paws In Water

You can use the list below to figure out exactly why your husky is putting its paws in water and what you need to do to stop them from doing it.

It’s a lot more common than you would expect, and in most cases, there’s an easy fix you can implement to stop them from exhibiting this behavior in the future.

1. Cooling Off

One of the most common reasons huskies put their paws in water is to cool off.

Huskies are great at regulating their own temperature thanks to their double coat, which keeps them warm in winter and cool in the summer, but sometimes the heat can be too much for them.

A husky soaked through with water on a beach
Some huskies love to use water as a quick way to cool off during the summer heat!

They can quickly cool off by putting their paws in water or digging in their water bowls.


If it’s hot outside – starting to exceed 70°F (21°C) – then you need to make sure your husky has access to plenty of fresh water and a shaded area to stay cool.

You should also avoid exercising them during the day when the temperature is hot outside to keep them cool.

It isn’t bad if they wet their paws to cool off; make sure to change the water and ensure they have somewhere to cool off, and they aren’t solely relying on the water.

Top Tip

Huskies can tolerate temperatures of up to 85°F (30°C), but it isn’t recommended for long periods.

2. Boredom

Huskies require a lot of exercise, and combining this with their intelligence leads to a breed that can get bored pretty quickly.

If your husky is bored and restless, they might start pawing at their water bowl as something to do.

It definitely isn’t uncommon for them to display some pretty weird or strange behavior when they’re bored, and you should be thankful that they aren’t resorting to destructive behaviors instead, like excessive howling or chewing.


It’s important to meet their physical and mental needs to stop your husky from getting bored.

Exercise them for at least 2 hours daily, and provide extra mental stimulation through puzzle toys or obedience training.

Huskies are not for the faint-hearted, and you need to make sure you can meet their needs so they are happy and satisfied.

3. They Prefer Moving Water

Some huskies prefer to drink from moving water rather than still, which comes down to instinct.

Running water from sources like rivers is naturally cleaner than standing water, and when huskies were not domesticated, this was likely where they got most of their water from.

A husky drinking from a stream of water
Does your husky drink from streams when out and about?

If your husky likes to drink water from streams or other flowing water when walking, it’s not uncommon for them to splash their water before drinking to make it move.


If your husky likes to drink moving water, you can get a water fountain instead of a regular dog bowl to encourage them to drink more often.

These can work well and save you a lot of cleaning.

4. They Can See Their Reflection

If your husky’s water bowl is reflective, they might paw at it if they can see their reflection.

This usually happens when they first use this type of bowl, and they will quickly learn not to continue this behavior after the first time, especially if they are not big fans of water.


If your husky is constantly intrigued by their reflection in their water bowl, replacing it with a non-reflective bowl is the easiest thing to do.

In most cases, though, they’ll only do this once or twice when you first introduce them to a reflective bowl.

5. Attention Seeking

Another common reason your husky might be dipping their paws in water is to seek attention.

Huskies are quite prone to certain types of attention-seeking behavior, and splashing around in water is usually one of these, as it’s a good way to get a reaction out of you, especially if lots of water ends up on the floor.


If your husky gets excited after splashing water around from their water bowl, it’s important not to react to them at all.

This is similar to correcting the behavior of huskies jumping up at you – you start by ignoring them completely, and once they stop, you can reward them.

Wait for them to stop splashing water around, and then give them a small treat a few moments later. They will associate the reward with stopping, and slowly, over time, they will stop exhibiting this behavior.

6. Positive Reinforcement

It can be hilarious the first time your husky starts digging in their water bowl and splashing water everywhere.

The expressions they pull when they notice their reflection in the water are funny enough! The problem here is that if you react by laughing, it can positively reinforce the behavior.


When it first happens, it’s important not to react expressively by laughing or running up to them to get them to stop.

This can be super difficult to do, but if you can manage to keep your reactions down to a minimum, it will prevent positively reinforcing the behavior.

If you’ve already made that mistake, keep ignoring them in the future and reward them with a treat a short while after they stop.

7. Compulsive disorder

In rare cases, some dogs can develop compulsive behaviors such as acral lick dermatitis, flank sucking, and more.

These are super rare, and it isn’t something that huskies are especially prone to, but if your husky keeps putting its paws into water constantly, this could be to blame.


Compulsive disorders should be dealt with by a veterinarian as well as a canine behaviorist. Speak to your veterinarian if you are concerned that your husky has a compulsive disorder, and then work from there.

8. Separation Anxiety

The final reason why huskies might put their paws in water is if they are left alone for long periods.

Huskies are prone to separation anxiety due to the sociable nature of the breed, which means they can develop destructive behaviors when left alone.

These behaviors can range from chewing, howling, and even pawing at their water. If you notice that there’s water all over the floor when you come back after being out of the house for a while, they have likely done this as a coping mechanism.


Dealing with separation anxiety is a whole topic on its own, and you can find full details here.

The main idea here is to get your husky used to spending time alone and providing distractions for them. At the same time, it’s also essential to make sure they have had enough exercise and mental stimulation beforehand.

In Summary

Hopefully, this guide has pointed you in the right direction for determining why your husky puts its paws into water.

It’s a behavior that most of us husky owners have had to deal with at least once, and in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t a big deal.

As long as you address the behavior properly and the reason behind it, your husky will stop doing it as often or at all.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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